[UPDATE: VIDEO BELOW] Yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly held a Q&A session up at Columbia in an urban public policy class. Everything was going just fine, until a heckler disturbed everything. While high-ranking officials get harassed all the time in public forums, this one is special. This particular protester had to take the NQR to the 1 to berate Kelly, since this guy was from NYU.
Bwog reports that in the middle of Kelly answering a question, a student pulled out a projector and began to show a slideshow of photos depicting police brutality on the wall behind Kelly. As the commissioner continued to speak, ignoring the politically-charged goings-on behind him, the student turned the projector around so that Kelly can see the slideshow. When that doesn’t catch his attention, the student fully interrupts Kelly by reading from a military history textbook. And then things got really awkward:
“This student stood up and called for Kelly’s resignation. “Are you serious, Kelly?’ he asked. ‘Resign now.’ [The professor] sprung up from his chair and instructed the young man to ‘take it easy.’ Several students asked if he was even registered for the course. ‘No, I go to NYU,’ he said. A groan went up and students began asking him to leave… ‘Well, this is very intimidating,’ Kelly said, grinning.”
After Kelly pretty much laughed in the face of the iMovie protester, the NYU student gathered his things and declares that he had been arrested thrice for “freedom of speech on this land.”
We are all for free speech, and the brutality of Commissioner Kelly’s force against OWS protestors is worthy of demonstration and direct questioning, but is lecture-bombing the right way to go about it? This is the second time this semester NYU students have pretty rudely occupied forums, following NYU4OWS’ outburst at John Sexton’s most recent Town Hall Meeting. While we are unsure if this particular incident is affiliated with NYU4OWS, he certainly followed in the same tactics.
For any aspiring protestors out there, you may not be doing it correctly if everyone starts groaning.
[UPDATE: 12/1] Democracy Now! has footage of the whole shebang:
As Rosie at the Voice mentions, Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance Jr., federal judge George Daniels, and former judge Milton Mollen were all in attendance at the class.